In this world, there are so many fears – fears of the dark, spiders, and even water. Fear of flying, however, is quite a common disturbance.
I had no idea that I was afraid of flying until I experienced my first plane ride. I was going home from Maryland to Mississippi when turbulence hit. When this happened, I grasped the shoulder of the man sitting next to me and he chuckled.
I was terrified, but he seemed to find my fear amusing. I guess he was used to this sort of thing. But I was not. It was clear from that day forward that I had a fear of flying.
I guess you can say, “Oh, you’re just afraid because of the turbulence”. Well, maybe that’s what alerted me to the fear of being in flight, but it’s not what kept the fear instilled in my heart. I will not go parasailing, I will not jump from planes, dear god, no!
When it comes to flying, I try every excuse to get out of the suggestion. I’ve even driven hundreds of miles just to stay off a plane. This is a bonafide fear of leaving the earth and flying.
Learning to fight your fear of flying
So, I guess this means, we shall learn to ditch the fear and terror of flying together. And, I’m alright with that. My brother tries to get me on a plane all the time to visit him, but I say no. So, if I lose my fear, I can make him happy and even learn to enjoy flying.
Let’s take a look at a few science-backed techniques that just might work.
1. Understand flying and physics
One way to start your journey away from the terror of flying is to learn the facts. If you’re unsure about how flying works, this could be a huge reason why you’re so afraid. You can learn facts about flying by simply doing an online search.
The bottom line is this: you cannot just fall from the sky in normal flight. You have to think of flying through the air as if you are swimming through water. The air does have a bit of support.
Research and learn more. Better than that, research and calm your anxieties. Also, make sure you learn the truth about turbulence and how the plane handles this issue.
2. Separating danger from anxiety
If you have a fear of being in flight, you’re probably seeing your anxieties as real dangers. Well, that’s a given, I guess. The key to this is to somehow separate the two so you can understand the logic.
One thing you must know is that your body reacts to anxiety in the same way that it reacts to genuine danger. If you can recognize your fear as anxiety and not real danger, you can harness this fear.
Please understand, and I am telling myself this too, just because you’re anxious doesn’t mean something is really wrong. You can use this mentality in so many other areas of your life as well.
3. Identify triggers
If you understand how triggers work in other situations, you will understand this as well. Identifying the triggers that upset you on the flight will help you work through these triggers.
The key is to examine the triggers you know before you ever get on the flight. This helps you work out a system to calm those feelings before they even begin. This is a precautionary action to stop giving in to the fear that you will soon be flying. I think this could work really well for those like us.
4. Build up to a flight
Instead of taking a long flight first, try making short hauls to help you build up the courage. When you experience a few uneventful take-offs and landings, you will feel more confident in taking longer flights. It’s like learning how to lose any other fear. One small step at a time generally works for us all.
5. Talk to others
Before the plane takes flight, talk to those sitting with you or near you. Tell them about your fears and if they will, give them ways to help you if fear takes over.
Most people will help in these situations, and you will find at least one person who will be your support. It’s worth a try to alleviate your fears, wouldn’t you say?
6. Fly often
When I read this tip, it sent a shiver down my spine, seriously. As I try to avoid flying altogether, this one seemed like pure torture. But, as I researched further, I started to see the logic behind this solution. It means, the more you fly, the less you will fear flying.
It’s like you get used to the sensations of flying, the feelings from the turbulence and even the crowded atmosphere. It may take a bit of prodding to keep you in the air, but over time you will be grateful you’ve pushed yourself to conquer this fear.
7. Look anxiety in the face
If you can anticipate the anxiety, you will feel when entering the plane, then you can outsmart this feeling. Most of the time, we feel much more anxious before getting on the plane than when we are flying.
We should, in a way, “embrace” the anxiety we feel before a flight, so it doesn’t seem so big afterward. You can then ask yourself, “Now, what was so bad about that?”
8. Distract yourself
If these don’t work, then try distraction. For example, when the doctor takes blood samples from my arm, I distract myself. This is because I get woozy when they do that. So, I think about yellow sunflowers waving in a field. It works.
So, with that being said, distracting yourself, by maybe listening to music, reading a book, or watching a movie can all help you get through the flight with less anxiety.
You can even talk to the person beside you if they seem talkative. Talking to someone enjoyable often seems to pass the time quickly.
Yes, you can meditate to a certain extent on the plane. It’s not like a distraction but more like focus. When you meditate, you focus on your breathing and place yourself in a safe place for the flight.
To focus on your breathing, you pace your breaths while counting slowly. This technique is used to alleviate panic by promoting a calm anxiety free mind and being.
10. Use confidence builders
Here’s something you might not think about on a regular basis. I bet you think driving is safer than flying. Well, according to SerioiusAccidents.com, this is not true. Statistics show that while aircraft crashes can be more catastrophic, taking more lives at one time, there is more chance that you will be in an automobile accident than a plane crash.
I think we have such a misconception about flight because while driving, we are closer to the ground and we seem to have control of the vehicle. What’s more, even though automobile crashes happen quite often, the deaths seem to be spread out more through time than with one plane crash.
The fear of flying, in this case, is just anxiety ruling over the facts and statistics.
So, we can help each other
As I said before, I do have a fear of flying. However, I plan to utilize these steps above to help cure a bit of that. Yes, I am going to take it slow and no, I leave no promises about how quickly I will cure this. But, I do have a determination about things, and I believe you do too.
Let’s cure the fear of flying together. What do you say?
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